By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is Allen West?
I will answer the easy part. He is the current head of the Texas Republican Party. He’s also a one-term former congressman … from Florida! He moved to Texas a year or two ago I reckon to restart his political career.
He served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was then discharged — I believe it was honorably — but only after facing a charge of “conduct unbecoming” an officer. He was involved in an incident involving an Iraqi prisoner who was treated harshly by U.S. service personnel.
West is a firebrand. While serving in the U.S. House, he accused his Democratic colleagues — all of them! — of being agents for communists around the world. Nice, eh? Hardly. It smacked to my ears of the kind of rhetorical crap spouted by the late, and infamous Sen. Joe McCarthy, the noted commie-hunter who became disgraced because of his witch hunting tactics.
West’s latest rhetorical barrage came at the expense of a young Texas legislator from Beaumont, Dade Phelan, who wants to become the next speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. It turns out that Phelan has been courting Democrats as well as his fellow Republicans, which according to West is a bridge too far. A GOP House speaker shouldn’t have to court the favor of Democrats, West said in criticizing Phelan.
Wait a second, dude. Texas has a long history of House speakers who have worked well across the aisle. Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican, was one; then we had Pete Laney, a Hale Center Democrat, who worked well with Republicans.
Indeed, governors of both parties have been known to reach across the aisle to seek favors from the other side.
So, what is this intruder trying to do?
I had thought that Texas had enough dedicated Republican political operatives of lengthy Lone Star State standing to lead the party. Instead, it has turned to this guy who knows practically nothing of this state’s unique political climate.